Daniel Eran Dilger
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RoughlyDrafted Goes to Europe

200806210054
Daniel Eran Dilger
I’m headed to Spain, Switzerland, and some other places yet to be determined over the next four weeks as I backpack around across the pond. I’ve written a few articles that I’ll publish over the next week, including the promised “Ten Big New Features in Mac OS X Snow Leopard” and more Myths of Snow Leopard. I’ll be doing my best to relax, but will likely not be able to completely pull myself away from writing. However, if you’d like to guest write an article for RDM to fill the vacuum, be sure to email me.

You can also track me at Twitter / DanielEran if you’ve been bitten by an addiction to tweets. And if you live in or near Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, or Basel and want to show me the best place in town to get a beer, let me know! I still have a week open in my itinerary, so you can also offer some suggestions of places to check out as I travel around. It was fun meeting a number of different readers during WWDC here in San Francisco, and it’s always cool to meet up with locals when I’m on the road.

I’m also planning to publish a travel-related journal of my experiences in carrying a MacBook Pro and iPhone around the old continent. The last couple times I went traveling I used paper or a Palm Pilot to record things and couldn’t use my Sprint or Verizon mobile phones in Europe or Asia at all. I’ll try to track down how well Apple’s gear performs internationally, and try using .Mac and iTunes from abroad as well.

And finally, if you’ve been trying to listen to my podcast and keep getting broken links, I’m afraid all I can do a the moment is offer an apology as I haven’t had the time to sort that out yet. I do plan to fix that and get back into audio publishing when I return, so hang in a bit longer.

– Daniel Eran Dilger

I really like to hear from readers. Comment in the Forum or email me with your ideas.

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  • heyitsme_23

    the best experiences I had in switzerland is taking a boat ride on lake Thun to Interlaken, and Zermatt. In Zermatt riding the tram up the Klein Matterhorn is very breathtaking. Just be sure to reserve a motel room in Zermatt, as it gets busy up there.

  • PerGrenerfors

    I suggest renting a car and driving through the Alps on your way from Spain to Switzerland. I’ve been to the french Alps a few times and it’s breathtakingly beautiful. It would be two days in a car if you go nice and slow, you won’t regret it.

  • http://www.macmojo.nl MacMojo

    When in Basel be sure to check out the University’s Anatomy museum!You won’t believe your eyes. And visit Amsterdam (Holland) of course! Everything you heared John Travolta talk about in Pulp Fiction is true ;-)

  • http://www.pixelgo.com jazzmic

    Well, here in Barcelona there’s loads of things to do! There are the “Ramblas” which is were most tourist go, but it’s actually a nice place, and lots of places were to have a drink, specially if you go around the CCCB (contemporary museum). You should also go around “el Borne” which is also by the gothic area, and there are many nice clubs and restaurants. I don’t know what kind of places you’re looking for, but you must visit Gaudi’s buildings, like “Sagrada Familia”, “La Pedrera” and “Casa Batllò”.
    As I said, it’s really up to what you like, so if you want any more info, or want to meet, I’ll be around except from the 18th to the 22nd of July. Just send me mail at jazzmic -a- jazzmic – com

  • Eric the B

    Just got back from a month in Japan; the iPhone obviously couldn’t get on cell networks, but it worked perfectly as an ersatz iPod Touch. Brought an AirPort Express (.g version) with me to be able to turn Ethernet cables into WiFi hot spots. Also, found random hotspots (e.g., KIX Kansai Osaka Airport and a random small Indian restaurant in Nagoya). Left the old iBook at home this time and (mostly) didn’t miss it.

    Everyone who played with the iPhone lusted over it, even though mostly there was no WiFi to show off Safari, Weather, etc. (only data that survived the previous download); just flicking through pictures and multi-touch got them excited. Those already on SoftBank were especially happy. Even though the iPhone is missing some Japanese capabilities, I think it’ll do okay. Most people seem to want the best spec list available on phones now, but don’t know how to/don’t learn how to fully use them (bad UIs). While video would be nice, I think some developer will come up with an app to allow the phone to act as a Suica card (train pass/payment card/everything else, it seems).

    ****** From Wikipedia (the etymology is more complex than I knew).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suica

    Mobile Suica

    Since January 2006, a version called Mobile Suica has been incorporated into mobile FeliCa wallet phones by Japan’s mobile operators. This system includes Java applications to manage the Suica function in the mobile phone, to recharge the Suica card stored in the mobile phone, review the stored value and perform other functions via the mobile phone. An enhancement for 2007 will allow for Suica charges to be added directly to the phone bill, eliminating the requirement to constantly add to and monitor the remaining balance.

    Enjoy Europe. Not sure if you’ve been to Japan, but it’s amazing. In Barcelona, if a bar called La Bolsa (sp? name of the stock exchange there) still exists, give it a try. The price of drinks varies like an exchange based on supply and demand. Also Mas y Mas and Club Universal (I think…it’s been a decade).

  • Eric the B

    Just got back from a month in Japan; the iPhone obviously couldn’t get on cell networks, but it worked perfectly as an ersatz iPod Touch. Brought an AirPort Express (.g version) with me to be able to turn Ethernet cables into WiFi hot spots. Also, found random hotspots (e.g., KIX Kansai Osaka Airport and a random small Indian restaurant in Nagoya). Left the old iBook at home this time and (mostly) didn’t miss it.

    Bring an iPhone-to-RWY (component? can never remember which…the old one) cable and put vids on the phone. I brought the other (newer) type, but didn’t find any sets with it. Bought the older type at Shibuya Apple store. Nice to have rented movies available at bedtime (I brought the three $0.99 ones I’d downloaded).

    Everyone who played with the iPhone lusted over it, even though mostly there was no WiFi to show off Safari, Weather, etc. (only data that survived the previous download); just flicking through pictures and multi-touch got them excited. Those already on SoftBank were especially happy. Even though the iPhone is missing some Japanese capabilities, I think it’ll do okay. Most people seem to want the best spec list available on phones now, but don’t know how to/don’t learn how to fully use them (bad UIs). While video would be nice, I think some developer will come up with an app to allow the phone to act as a Suica card (train pass/payment card/everything else, it seems).

    ****** From Wikipedia (the etymology is more complex than I knew).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suica

    Mobile Suica

    Since January 2006, a version called Mobile Suica has been incorporated into mobile FeliCa wallet phones by Japan’s mobile operators. This system includes Java applications to manage the Suica function in the mobile phone, to recharge the Suica card stored in the mobile phone, review the stored value and perform other functions via the mobile phone. An enhancement for 2007 will allow for Suica charges to be added directly to the phone bill, eliminating the requirement to constantly add to and monitor the remaining balance.

    Enjoy Europe. Not sure if you’ve been to Japan, but it’s amazing. In Barcelona, if a bar called La Bolsa (sp? name of the stock exchange there) still exists, give it a try. The price of drinks varies like an exchange based on supply and demand. Also Mas y Mas and Club Universal (I think…it’s been a decade).

  • Eric the B

    Sorry about the mostly duped comment…I added the bit about iPhone-to-TV cables and was hoping that I could edit the old comment, but was wrong…

  • http://caixaalta72pt.wordpress.com João Gomes

    Daniel, I know I’m extremely biased (obviously), but I may as well suggest that since you’re going to Spain, you could come to Portugal too and stay in Lisbon for a day or two (I know it’s on the exact opposite side of the Iberian peninsula, but it’s well worth it).

    In Europe, it is the city which probably most resembles San Francisco, down to the Golden Gate bridge-lookalike, the hilly terrain, the trams… You’d feel right at home. But anyway, even if you considered “feeling at home” while on vacation to be kind of pointless, I think it can hold on its own, as it has a great climate and there are many peculiar urban and architectural landmarks and lots of places here to explore (and most stuff is on the inexpensive side, too, which can’t hurt). I’m sure you wouldn’t regret it!

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    One thing you’ll notice anywhere in Europe is the strange feeling it’s 1999 or so when it comes to the rarity of Macs. America is several years ahead of all of us in adoption.

    As for the guest RDM idea … how about one of us writes a critical piece about Apple for a change? You make it hard, I must admit, but there’s still the old gripes about their (arguably justifiable) disinterest in the enterprise per se. Mind, iPhone 2.0 makes it a tougher write!

    Ever travelled to the old English speaking countries over here? I can’t commend Britain or Ireland over Spain for the weather, but the common language helps when you want to investigate the finer points of cultural difference: such as why we are still so stuck in the mud when it comes to Windows! Gah. I don’t get it myself.

  • http://www.antiorario.it/ antiorario

    I agree with João Gomes on everything he says about Lisbon and San Francisco (I myself am fond of both). But since you’re going to be in Basel, you might as well spend that extra week in northern Italy. Plenty of great cities, countryside, mountains and beaches.

    Just a warning: Italy is way more expensive than Portugal (or the United States, for that matter).

  • chefmitch

    I just got back from a cruise of the Baltic Sea, we stopped in St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Gdansk, Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Warnemunde (Germany). I considered bringing a laptop but decided to only bring my iPhone. I popped the SIM card out as soon as I left the US figuring I could hop on Wi-Fi to keep in touch and update my travel blog.

    I was very disappointed in how little wi-fi availability I was able to find. The ship had wi-fi but at $57/hour I decided that I would be better off using hotspots in the ports of call. I had no luck finding wi-fi in most of the cities I visited. I wrongly assumed that every (other) cafe would have wi-fi or at least I could use an internet cafe. I did have luck in Amsterdam (internet cafe) and in Helsinki (University of Finland Library). I had limited time in port so I didn’t make a huge project of tracking down wi-fi, I just figured it would be available everywhere – not so much!

    I guess I am spoiled living in CA. Wi-Fi is so easy to find. Even the local grocery store has free wi-fi! (I was standing in a long line at Safeway and was checking my email and was shocked to see Safeway SSID show up).

    Barcelona is awesome! Madrid was great, too. Valencia was my least favorite city that I visited in my 3 month backpacking trek through western europe (14 countries and lots of cities) – ymmv.

    Are you stopping in France? Paris is so worth the visit.

    Have a great trip!

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    chefmitch has a good point. Free wifi can be as rare as hen’s teeth in these parts. Don’t count on being able to find it.

  • http://www.marketingtactics.com davebarnes

    Lisbon, Portugal.
    Just the most wonderful place.
    Friendly people.
    Great seafood.
    Awesome tram system: The Electrico.

  • dicklacara

    If you get to Southern Spain, Ronda is worth the trip.

    Interlaken is beautiful and I had the best steak I’ve ever had in a restaurant on the glacier overlooking Jungfrau.

    Enjoy your trip!

  • gus2000

    Macbook Pro? Really? Not going to trade for the Air? Those extra 25 ounces or so will quickly take their toll. Plus, your wallet will be that much lighter.

    We’ll take good care of RDM for you while you’re gone. Just leave the keys under the mat.

  • harrywolf

    San Sebastian, in the Basque country, Northern Spain.
    Cool place, beautiful girls!

  • zaxzan

    Dan, try these web sites below for a list of wifi hotspots –

    http://www.wififreespot.com/europe.html

    http://goeurope.about.com/od/wireless/Wireless_Hotspots_in_Europe_Finding_Hotspots.htm

    http://weroam.hds.weroam.com/hsmap/?lang=en

    http://www.free-hotspot.com/

    http://www.hotspot-locations.com/

    As a pom living in Australia, I’d have to say the absolute best part of Europe is ….

    The Isle of Ischia, Italy – http://wikitravel.org/en/Ischia
    Ischia is just a stones throw from –
    Naples.
    the Isle of capri.
    The Amalfi coast.
    Mt Vesuvius volcano.
    Pompeii …
    Blah, blah, blah.

    Just hire a scoter on the Isle and also at Sorrento, on the mainland, then ride along the awe inspiring, draw dropingly beautiful, world heritage listed, Amalfi coast road.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalfi_Coast – soaking up the sun.

    If you can’t make it to Italy … are you mad?
    then –
    Eat and drink in the Dordogne area in southwestern France.
    Drink real ale in Oxford, England.
    Explore and drink in all of Iceland.
    Drink and party all night in the Pest part of Budapest, Hungary.

    Did I mention drinking….

    Bon Voyage.

  • zaxzan

    Dan, try these web sites below for a list of European wifi hotspots –

    http://www.wififreespot.com/europe.html

    http://goeurope.about.com/od/wireless/Wireless_Hotspots_in_Europe_Finding_Hotspots.htm

    http://weroam.hds.weroam.com/hsmap/?lang=en

    http://www.free-hotspot.com/

    http://www.hotspot-locations.com/

    As a pom now living in Australia, personally, I’d have to say the absolute best’st part of Europe is ….

    The Isle of Ischia, Italy – http://wikitravel.org/en/Ischia
    Ischia is just a stones throw from –
    Naples.
    the Isle of capri.
    The Amalfi coast.
    Mt Vesuvius volcano.
    Pompeii …
    Blah, blah, blah.

    Just hire a scoter on the Isle to zip around on and also hire one in Sorrento, on the mainland, then jaunt along the awe inspiring, draw dropingly beautiful, world heritage listed – Amalfi coast road.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalfi_Coast – soaking up the sun, stopping off for a cool lager every now and then (within reason)

    If you can’t make it to Italy … are you mad?
    then –
    Eat and drink in the Dordogne area in southwestern France.
    Experience real ale in Oxford, England.
    Explore and drink all around Iceland.
    Drink and party all night in the Pest’ part of Budapest, Hungary.

    Did I mention drinking …. ‘spose you do it in Spain.

    Bon Voyage.

  • Berend Schotanus

    Enjoy Europe!

    I’ll be interested to hear what you think about it. I like reading what’s going on in Silicon Valley because it is so tech savvy and entrepreneurial while sometimes I get frustrated by the more conservative attitude on this side of the ocean; you will experience it the other way round.
    When using your iPhone be aware of high roaming fees; prepaid phone cards can be a more cost effective alternative.
    When travelling around in Europe you can consider trains as an alternative to car or plane, especially when high speed services are available (French: TGV, Spanish: AVE). Switzerland railways are known as most reliable (clockwork) and also very scenic.
    It probably isn’t on your route but I’ll be glad to show you around in The Netherlands.

  • Berend Schotanus

    @John Muir

    “One thing you’ll notice anywhere in Europe is the strange feeling it’s 1999 or so when it comes to the rarity of Macs. ”

    Sure. This might also have something to do with the amount of money Apple spends in marketing and opening of retail stores in America versus Europe.

  • Berend Schotanus

    @ Eric the B

    That’s really an interesting subject you mention here. An iPhone with integrated “Suica” card can make an ideal travel companion.
    Currently smart-cards are introduced as a ticketing method in various railway and metro systems, including the Oyster card in London and OV-Chipkaart in the Netherlands. What they miss is an interface.
    The iPhone can act as a journey planner, which is perfectly possible today because you can get it over the Internet. But when combined with ticketing, an agenda and on-line travel advice (in case of delays) something powerful is emerging.

  • dicklacara

    @ Eric the B
    @Berend Schotanus

    iPhone Suica!

    IMO, this offers the potential for far more than just automatic payment of transportation fees (and opening toll gates).

    Done right (the Apple way), the iPhone could be the realization of the electronic wallet.

    Oddly, I recently emailed Daniel with a suggestion that he do an article on the subject (attached below).

    Daniel,

    I enjoy (almost) all your articles– politics excepted.

    I have a suggestion for an article

    Possibility of iPhone/Touch supporting RFID payment systems like Mobile Suica.

    I did some preliminary research & here’s what I’ve found.

    Mobile Suica is a technology that supports mobile payments by cell phones.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Suica

    Mobile Sucia is licensed by SoftBank– Apple’s Japan iPhone carrier (also NTT & DoCoMo– potential Japan iPhone carriers)

    same reference

    Mobile Sucia is implemented via Java interfacing a Sony FeliCa Chip.

    same reference
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FeliCa
    http://www.paymentsnews.com/2008/05/sony-announces.html

    The ARM processor used in current iPhone/Touch is capable of directly executing Java ByteCode (Jazelle DBX).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture

    I am unclear whether any of the chips in the current or 3G iPhones have the capability of the Sony chip.

    While not directly related, Apple appears to be interested in automated shopping, transactions and (by inference) payment systems.

    http://www.macnn.com/blogs/2008/04/18/will-apple-open-a-store-in-second-life.html
    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/37064/118/
    http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/26/apple-patents-iphone-tech-wire-bc_1227appatent.html
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/apple-patent-explores-wireless-media-device-applications/
    http://watchingapple.com/2007/12/wireless-transactions-and-apples-pos-patent/

    It would be really cool for the iPhone to replace the wallet (cash, credit cards, Identification, Medical History/Alerts) in addition its current roles (iPod, Phone, Internet browser) and future roles (Business, Gaming, 3rd-Party Apps). Some features of the 3G iPhone (Push, Remote Wipe, Assisted GPS, Tracking) only make the electronic wallet more practical.

    I carry three things wherever I go: Keys, iPhone, Wallet. I’d like to reduce that to 2 devices, soon… then only 1, in the not-too-distant future.

    Thoughts?

    Dick Applebaum

  • pmu

    Hey Daniel Eran!

    If you decide to visit Austria too, come to Lake Millstatt, i have a Hotel there were you could stay at. http://www.parkschloessl.com

    Have a nice time in europe!

  • dicklacara

    @ Eric the B
    @Berend Schotanus

    iPhone Suica!

    IMO, this offers the potential for far more than just automatic payment of transportation fees (and opening toll gates).

    Done right (the Apple way), the iPhone could be the realization of the electronic wallet.

    Oddly, I recently emailed Daniel with a suggestion that he do an article on the subject (attached below).

    Daniel,

    I enjoy (almost) all your articles– politics excepted.

    I have a suggestion for an article

    Possibility of iPhone/Touch supporting RFID payment systems like Mobile Suica.

    I did some preliminary research & here’s what I’ve found.

    Mobile Suica is a technology that supports mobile payments by cell phones.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Suica

    Mobile Sucia is licensed by SoftBank– Apple’s Japan iPhone carrier (also NTT & DoCoMo– potential Japan iPhone carriers)

    same reference

    Mobile Sucia is implemented via Java interfacing a Sony FeliCa Chip.

    same reference
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FeliCa
    http://www.paymentsnews.com/2008/05/sony-announces.html

    The ARM processor used in current iPhone/Touch is capable of directly executing Java ByteCode (Jazelle DBX).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture

    I am unclear whether any of the chips in the current or 3G iPhones have the capability of the Sony chip.

    While not directly related, Apple appears to be interested in automated shopping, transactions and (by inference) payment systems.

    http://www.macnn.com/blogs/2008/04/18/will-apple-open-a-store-in-second-life.html
    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/37064/118/
    http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/26/apple-patents-iphone-tech-wire-bc_1227appatent.html
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/apple-patent-explores-wireless-media-device-applications/
    http://watchingapple.com/2007/12/wireless-transactions-and-apples-pos-patent/

    It would be really cool for the iPhone to replace the wallet (cash, credit cards, Identification, Medical History/Alerts) in addition its current roles (iPod, Phone, Internet browser) and future roles (Business, Gaming, 3rd-Party Apps). Some features of the 3G iPhone (Push, Remote Wipe, Assisted GPS, Tracking) only make the electronic wallet more practical.

    I carry three things wherever I go: Keys, iPhone, Wallet. I’d like to reduce that to 2 devices, soon… then only 1, in the not-too-distant future.

  • http://wondersoftech.blogspot.com/ jmdunys

    Well, I lived in San Francisco for a few years, and although the latitude is roughly the same as Lisbon (Portugal), San Francisco is more cosmopolitan. I love Lisbon, its people, its food, and the river side.

    Barcelona would be a little more like San Francisco in some aspects: hills, different social pockets, Mediterranean mountains (hills?) straight into the sea (much warmer than by Ocean Beach), interesting architecture, etc.

    If you manage to go to France, then you should DEFINITELY check Nice. It is so beautiful. The food is just amazing, the old market fragrant, the view incredible, etc.

    At this point in time, the city that reminds me the most of San Francisco is… Sheffield, in the UK. I know there is no sea, but there is the amazing peak district where people come from all over Europe to do climbing or extreme sports (even got a whole-year ski slope), and there are big lakes and reservoirs. Sheffield has been voted the greenest big city in Europe, and the student population – from all over the world – is ever growing, bringing such a rich mixture of culture and tastes. I fell in love with it and decided to stay. There are many local breweries around, most with adjacent pubs with spectacular views. There is a great tram system ;-) and of course. a very active Apple Store :-)

  • Dalekrium

    Hi, in Madrid almost every place is either good or better it depends mostly of what you are looking for there is so much variety that is easy to get in a place that look like but do not really fit with what you are looking for. I am not sure how expensive you would find it with the euro dolar ratio. Any case remember that in spain the default beer is cold bold and in Madrid the local beer (fresher and the locals say that the best ) is called Mahou